April, 18 2015

Patchwork Of State Food Labeling Mandates Will Cost Consumers More At The Store

The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food issued the following statement highlighting the additional costs that will be passed on to consumers as a result of the growing patchwork of state food labeling laws:

A patchwork approach of state food labeling laws with different labeling mandates and requirements across the country will generate significant new costs for American consumers. Studies and congressional testimony show the higher costs resulting from a range of state labeling mandates – and that the costs would be passed on to consumers.

  • A study in October 2013 by the Washington State Academy of Sciences found that mandatory labeling is likely to affect trade and impose higher costs on food production, and that ultimately, these higher costs would be passed on to consumers.
  • Mandatory GMO labeling could cost a family of four more than $500 a year, according to a study by Cornell University Professor William Lesser.
  • A 2012 study by Northbridge Environmental Management Consultants found that a mandatory labeling proposal in California could cost households nearly $400 a year.
  • “Ultimately, a patchwork of state and local GMO labeling laws will hit consumers the hardest resulting in either increased costs at the grocery store or less availability of products on store shelves,” testified Thomas W. Dempsey Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Snack Food Association at a March 2015 House Agriculture Committee hearing.
  • “But a patchwork approach of state labeling mandates will make a farmer’s job more difficult, with problems that will extend to every part of our nation’s food production and distribution system. For farmers, a GMO labeling mandate will stigmatize GMO products driving down demand for GMO crops. As a result, our famers will have fewer choices of what to plant, will see higher costs due to crop segregation, lower yields, a decline in productivity and an increased environmental footprint. For suppliers, mandates mean building new supply chains – one for GM crows and a separate for non-GM crops. New supply chains mean new warehouse and storage space. For manufacturers, mandates will require new separate production runs for individual states. New labels will need to be designed to comply with each state’s unique laws. Production runs will then be interrupted for labels to be changes, creating idle equipment and idle workers. For distributors, mandates will require new delivery routes. These new routes won’t be based on efficiency as they are now, but will be based on borders. And for consumers, each of these impacts imposes new costs,” testified Christopher Policinski, president and CEO, Land O’Lakes Inc., at the March 2015 House Agriculture Committee hearing.

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About the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food

We are a broad-based coalition representing the entire American agriculture food supply chain – from farm to fork. We are committed to increasing the public’s understanding about the science and safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and advocating for science-based policies that keep food affordable for every American.

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